Today you are five months old. Its been such a busy month I don’t even know where to begin but I’ll try to organize my thoughts as best as I can.
You had your first Eid this month. We spent it with nana and nani. You wore your first shalwar kamiz ever. It belonged to your cousin, your Phupo was kind enough to mail it to you. You had an outfit change in the afternoon due to, shall we say delicately, technical difficulties with your diaper. Your second outfit was your Mamu Aamir’s. He wore it over two decades ago. It was a bit surreal to see you in his outfit because your mamu is all grown up and as small as you seem in his old outfit, you are growing up too.
I think the whole concept of you growing up has been hitting me this month. You see, you began rolling this month. Now, I knew babies crawled, stood, walked, but no one told me they rolled. You roll and roll and roll. You head for the hookah, the DVD player, anything except for the stuffed animals and toys we have lined up for you. We can no longer swaddle you because you roll in your sleep. The other day I walked in to see you asleep in your crib with your arms over your eyes, your legs crossed like you were tanning the beach. And suddenly I could see you five years old, or ten. I could see myself standing over your bed to wake you for school. As much as your babyhood is my reality and your childhood to come quite abstract, its beginning to grow more clear as glimpses of the child behind the baby begin to emerge.
This month was your first vacation. We traveled to Colorado. We had a blast though you weren’t a huge fan of the whole time-change thing. It was amazing to see the Rockies with you. You seemed intrigued beyond measure but you know what? It was our first time here too. So while these were your first mountains and waterfalls and babbling brooks, they were our first here in Colorado. It was awesome to experience a first with you.
We lost your Pluto on the trip. We frantically called up all the places we stayed but no one knew what happened to it. I’ve lost things along the way traveling over the years: glasses, belts, hair clips. We shrug, replace, and move on. But losing Pluto? It felt like someone stamped on my forehead: worst. parent. ever. We tried giving you other stuffed animals to play with, you’d grab them politely and then fling them at the first opportunity. I went to get you a replacement. Unfortunately they no longer make that size anymore. They had one Pluto as big as you, and one closer to the size of a beanie baby. I bought the smaller one. When I handed it to you, your eyes lit up, a large smile swept over your face. Then you held it closer and looked up at me, one eyebrow raised as though to say, um, what did you do to my Pluto? It shrunk.
You squinted and studied it for a good while, turning it over and inspecting. Finally you sighed and hugged it close to you, tugging its tail and snuggling close to it. I guess we couldn’t fool you but you accepted tiny Pluto and it was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.
You love it when I sing to you, you always have, but lately only one song will do. Its a simple little song I sang to you when you were just a few days old and lately it has the power to calm you unlike anything else. You can go from a sobbing, hysterical mess to a serene newborn sucking his thumb when I sing it. Your shoulders relax and your eyes widen with recognition. It’s magical. I get a lump in my throat to know how easily my voice can soothe you, and the knowledge that it won’t always be so. That there will come a day that a simple hug and my silly songs just won’t do. My friend Shabina reminded me yesterday that despite the struggles, and the challenges and the sleepless nights, they are only visitors in our home for a short while. It feels like forever but it will be gone in a flash. Its an important reminder and one I hope I remember for the rest of my life. Thank you Waleed for being my son, and as my silly little song that you love so much goes: Waleedie, Waleedie, I love you Waleedie. You’ll always be my baby, my baby Waleedie.